NPR’s second story on the funeral industry suggests that preplanning a funeral will typically require visits to multiple funeral homes.
NPR led their story with a consumer attorney sharing his frustrations with getting price information from funeral homes near his father. To the attorney’s surprise, many of the funeral homes did not include general price lists on their websites. NPR discussed how the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule was intended to overcome industry secrecy by requiring the disclosure of itemized price lists. However, the Funeral Consumer Alliance advised NPR that the Funeral Rule is antiquated because it does not require online price disclosures. When contacted by NPR, the Federal Trade Commission reminded the reporter that the Funeral Rule was written before the Internet, and an amendment would be required to force funeral homes to post their general price lists on their websites. What went unspoken in the story is that such an amendment is highly unlikely with the stated goals of the Trump administration.
Another reality is that it is very difficult for Mom and Pop funeral homes to administer their own websites. Nor are the on line price comparison companies targeting the smaller communities for their services. As the death care industry representative suggests, on line pricing disclosures are market driven, and the funeral homes in smaller towns are hard pressed to justify the cost of on line pricing disclosures.
A few months ago we posted a sample funeral planning guide for use by churches. We found one church’s funeral planning guide more beneficial than others because it incorporated actual service costs from local funeral homes. The guide was obviously prepared with the cooperation of the funeral homes serving that church’s congregation. Funeral homes do understand the need to provide pricing information for preplanning efforts.
Click the following hyperlink to read NPR’s Funeral Prices are still Unclear.